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Geno Smith’s eyes said it all.

They were wet. They were red. They were genuine and full of appreciation.

Those were his words. Forget free agency. He wants to return to be the Seahawks quarterback for the 2023 season.

And football’s top decision-maker wants him back.

“I want to finish my career in Seattle,” the 32-year-old quarterback said after his season, going from seven-year NFL backup to Pro Bowl selection, broke Russell Wilson’s Seahawks passing records and first career playoff berth. start, ended the season. 41-23 loss at the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday.

“I want to be here. The town, the city, the team, coach (Pete) Carroll, the organization, they all embraced me. I was a guy who probably could have been out of the league. They hugged me.

“I want to repay them for that.”

Smith completed 25 of 35 passes for 253 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception against a top-ranked San Francisco defense in the final game of his one-year, $3.5 million contract. He lost on a sack with the Seahawks driving inside the 20-yard line 23-17 late in the third quarter.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) passes during the second half of an NFL wild card playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez) Godofredo A. Vasquez AP:

After Seattle’s surprising end to the season (9-9), Carroll said he wants the man he selected back in August to replace the traded Wilson as his quarterback to return in 2023.

When asked if he wanted Smith to return rather than leave in free agency, which begins in March, Carroll said, “I hope so. I hope.”

This was a week after Smith noted that the NFL is “a business,” the Seahawks had to make decisions, and so did he.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) reacts after losing against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL wild card playoff game in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Godofredo). A. Vásquez) Godofredo A. Vásquez AP:

QB wants to stay. His coach, and the top authority on the matter, hope he does.

Whether it will be or not, of course, is related to money.

Smith hasn’t had a multi-year contract since he signed with the New York Jets as a second-round pick in the 2013 draft. years before this one, he was among the backups for four teams.

The Seahawks will likely offer him eight or nine times the $3.5 million he earned by maxing out his incentive bonuses for the 2022 season after he beat out Drew Lock for the preseason job.

The free agent market could offer him a 10x raise. That is, considering Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill, 35, is making an average of $29.5 million per season, wasn’t selected to the Pro Bowl this season and didn’t lead his team to the playoffs.

Still, Smith sounds like he’s reluctant to even test the open market. He’s looking to finish what he started this season, leading a young, hungry and now bewildered Seahawks.

“I’m in it for the long haul,” he said. “I’m ready to go.”

Geno Smith has changed drafts

The Seahawks have four picks in the first two rounds of this spring’s draft. That includes the fifth overall pick thanks to Wilson and the Broncos going 5-12 this season.

Smith’s season has changed Seattle’s mindset.

Until then, Carroll and general manager John Schneider’s plan after the Wilson trade was to use their new picks from Denver to have their starting quarterback after the 2023 draft. It’s loaded with what NFL scouts see as NFL-ready quarterbacks like Bryce Young of Alabama and CJ Stroud of Ohio State.

Smith changed the way Carroll and Schneider thought about the draft by setting team records with 399 receptions, 572 receptions, 4,282 yards and a 69.8% completion rate.

They drafted in the 20s of the first round while making the playoffs 10 times in his 13 years running the Seahawks. Now they should consider using their once-in-a-generation fifth pick on a much-needed defensive lineman who can stop the run and rush the passer. Or at center and guard that can block someone. Or on a game player.

Someone to help a defense that allowed 505-plus yards and 41 points Saturday, ending a season where that side of the ball often sabotaged Smith’s success.

Now the Seahawks can pick up relief first, then a quarterback who doesn’t have to play in 2023. They could re-sign Smith, probably for two to three years at $25 million or more a year, and then a quarterback. they can develop behind a veteran rather than play right away.

DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett want Smith back

Smith’s top wide receivers have made it clear they want Smith back as their quarterback.

Metcalf caught 10 passes for 136 yards and Smith’s perfect pass on third-and-3 in the second quarter, Metcalf’s route to No. 49 cornerback Charvarius Ward for a 50-yard touchdown down the left sideline. Seattle rallied from a 10-0 deficit early in the second quarter to take a 14-13 lead.

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf (14) throws a pass against San Francisco 49ers cornerback Charvarius Ward during the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. AP Photo/Josie Lepe) Josie Lepe AP:

Metcalf said he didn’t know Smith’s contract was up and he could be a free agent in March. That shows how much the quarterback, receivers and team have rooted for Smith as their man.

“We named Tyler, Quandre (Diggs) and Al Woods as our team captains,” Metcalf said of special teams’ Nick Bellor. “But by the seventh or eighth game, you could feel the team change and start listening to Geno. Everyone just started gravitating to him and what he said. He has just started to lead.”

Lockett said he doesn’t see anyone other than Smith as his quarterback through at least 2023, if not beyond.

“Oh yeah, I mean, of course we want Geno back,” Lockett said.

“I think everybody in the building wants to get Geno to come back.

“Obviously, like Geno said, the NFL is a business, and so they’re all going to do what’s best for each other.

“I’m very happy with Geno’s game and everything he’s done this year. It’s just amazing, just to have the opportunity to have an incredible season, a Pro Bowl year at that.

“So excited for her about what the future holds.”

This story was originally published January 14, 2023 18:42.

Greg Bell is a Seahawks and NFL writer for The News Tribune. In January 2019, he was named Washington State Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. He began covering the NFL in 2002 when the Oakland Raiders beat a writer for The Sacramento Bee. The Ohio native began covering the Seahawks during their first Super Bowl season in 2005. In a previous life, he graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the US Army, so he might ask you to leave and give him a 10.



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